Update (3/12/2015 11:36 a.m.): The two police officers wounded in the shooting have been released fromBarnes Jewish Hospital, according to the St. Louis County Police Department’s official Facebook page.
By Michael Nam
Two police officers were shot and injured outside of the Ferguson Police Department overnight during protests that followed the announcement of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson’s resignation, according to authorities.
“At midnight the crowd was starting to break up, in fact several of the officers had left the area, and to the immediate north-northwest of the police department several shots were firedat least threeand two officers were struck,” St. Louis County Police Chief John Belmar said in a press conference hours after the shooting.
Both officers were conscious but in serious condition, according to Belmar. Neither officer is a member of the Ferguson PD. A 32-year-old officer from Webster Groves, Mo., was struck in the face, and a 41-year-old officer from the St. Louis County Police was hit in the shoulder.
Even given the rapid succession of changes in Ferguson during the past week with the resignations of six peoplethree of them high-profile city officialswho were named in the Justice Department investigation into racial bias in local law enforcement, tensions still remain. In video taken at the scene of the shooting, a voice can be heard stating, “Acknowledgement nine months ago would have kept that from happening.”
Belmar acknowledged the resentment toward law-enforcement officials. “We have had an occasion to be involved in many of the events in Ferguson since Michael Brown was killed and I think we’ve been very fortunate as we’ve moved forward not to have similar instances like this happen to us,” he said. “But I have said all along that we cannot sustain this forever without problems. That’s not an indictment on everybody that’s out there certainly expressing their First Amendment rights, but we have seen in law enforcement that this is a very, very, very dangerous environment for the officers to work in regarding the amount of gunfire that we’ve experienced up there.”
Authorities were unable to provide a description of a suspect or suspects at this time, though Belmar did at one point say that “somehow they were embedded” among the protesters.
A video posted on Twitter provides another view of the shooting’s immediate aftermath. The voices on the video can be heard stating that a police officer had been shot in the face, and that the shots had come from somewhere other than among protesters.
Shots fired at police pic.twitter.com/tEIOLDSmrx
Search4Swag (@search4swag) March 12, 2015